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should feeding tube be removed
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should feeding tube be removed

Hi, everybody
my mother had a stroke 1.5 month ago. she is in rehab now. she was not responsive, so they put in the hospital feeding tube.
she is better now, and she can swallow. But she does not want to eat. i am trying to "train" her in rehab, because the speech therapist guy comes twice a week, and it is not enough, so i try to give her a few spoons of baby food every day. sometimes she eats without pleasure, sometimes she totally refuses.
i am wondering whether i should insist on removing tube, and may be this is when she will start eating more using her mouth. i am afraid that she will go hungry, but at the same time, may be with tube she will not agree to eat ever.
i just feel that tube was put for fear of her not swallowing and food getting into her lungs, but this danger is not there anymore.
not sure what to do.
another question, may be someone know: i don't trust too much to the doctor in the facility...i would like consultation for her with doctor outside the facility. how can i arrange that?
my mother is 83 years old, was active and independant before the stroke. but she was a bad eater before that as well, this is why i am afraid to insist on taking feeding tube out...
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Is the feeding tube inserted through her nose or through her stomach? If it's inserted through her nose, I'd have it removed, and replaced with a feeding tube that is inserted to her stomach. The stomach feeding tube (PEG) is much safer, and more comfortable. You can read about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feeding_tube.

Once your mom is on a stomach feeding tube, maybe you should suggest to the doctor, and speech therapist that your mom be slowly weaned off of it, while still relearning how to eat by mouth. The doctor is correct in being cautious about removing the tube. Forcing mouth feeding too soon, puts her at risk for aspiration.
See below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_aspiration

If you don't like your mom's doctor, I don't see how it would be a problem to get another one. You would want to make sure the new doctor is covered under your mom's medical insurance. If you choose a doctor out of your mom's medical insurance network, she might have to pay for his/or her services out-of-pocket.

A few things I have learned in dealing with healthcare staff since my mom's stroke is:

1. Ask the healthcare staff lots of questions, but also educate yourself as much as you can about the recovery process for the type of stroke your mother has. Here is a good source:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=physmedrehab&part=A726

2. Don't be intimidated by the healthcare staff. Be polite but FIRM with everyone assigned to your mother's recovery. Remember, you are your mother's advocate and mouthpiece.

3. Let them know what your expectations are of them, and hold them accountable. If they know that you are monitoring their work, they'll do a better job of taking care of your mom. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. It's almost as if you have to earn their respect. That's how it works with healthcare these days. I hope this helps.

God Bless




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